- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Mount Carmel Health System in central Ohio is the first major health system to integrate its electronic health records with the state’s prescription monitoring program that is intended to help reduce prescription drug abuse, officials said Friday.

That means over 2,300 care providers at Mount Carmel’s emergency departments and acute care hospitals have quicker access to information about what controlled substances a person has been prescribed in Ohio. Officials say that can help improve care and curb prescription abuse by identifying patients suspected of, or at risk of, misusing medications.

The database, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, was created in 2006 to track prescriptions furnished by Ohio prescribers or dispensed by pharmacies in the state.

“In the Emergency Department especially, where seconds count, having instant electronic access to OARRS data gives our providers vital patient information that can be used to help us deliver safe, effective care,” Mount Carmel’s chief pharmacy officer, Janet Whittey, said in a statement.

The state is working with other hospital systems and their electronic records systems to integrate those with the statewide database as well, said Cameron McNamee, spokesman for the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

Ohio doctors are supposed to check the state database before recommending prescription painkillers, but an August audit by the pharmacy board found that about 12,000 physicians weren’t registered for the site or weren’t properly using it. Officials hope that getting more health systems integrated with the database will boost its use.

“It’s a matter of not only helping them comply with the law, but also making it so easy for them that they would always check,” McNamee said.

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